When I graduated from university I was young, naive, and thought that I could easily find a great career with great pay. Part of being young and naive is that you think the world is your oyster. I was obviously dead wrong. I could write a 15 page essay in one night but didn’t have any real work experience. If I could do it all over again I would have taken a much different approach!
1. Make realistic expectations
It is unlikely that you will land your dream job upon graduation. A wealth of knowledge and lots of letters behind your name isn’t as valuable as years of professional experience. You will be competing with other new graduates for a small number of entry level positions. You may want to consider applying for unpaid internships which will provide valuable experience and great connections. You never know, it may even turn into a paid position!
2. Make connections
Networking can be daunting but it will help you gain access to the hidden job market. Although networking events are awkward, it will help build your confidence and provide a great opportunity to connect with others. Build relationships with industry professionals who can provide great career advice and may lead to future job opportunities as well. Take advantage of your university careers services or alumni services.
3. Job hunting is a full-time job in itself
If you are serious about looking for a job, put in the time. Treat it like a full-time job by setting your alarm clock and putting in an 8 hour day. While it may seem extreme, consider the time it takes to craft your cover letter and resume for each job posting. Recruiters will only spend a few seconds looking at your resume – make sure it stands out. Consider taking the time to update your social media accounts to attract recruiters and possible networking contacts.
While none of the tips listed above are groundbreaking, they are a good reminder of what you need to do to succeed in such a tight job market. How will you outshine the competition?
1. Advice for Recent Post-Secondary Grads, by Jessica Lau
2. Agony and Elation: Searching for Work in a Turbulent Job Market, by Nicole Davidson
3. What Three Pieces of Advice Should Post-Secondary Grads Take to Heart? by Carolyn Courage